“Hey LT. Did he kiss you good bye”.
This is a Pre-War story because it happened to me prior to my attendance at the little skirmish I call Vietnam. It is intended to show you that I didn't have any anti-homosexual bias back in the day. Hell, I was so unbiased that I was ignorant of the whole thing.
I grew up in a lower class neighborhood on the East side of Wichita. I was a baby boomer and the drug of choice where I grew up was beer. I swear that to this day I have never done a refer, a joint, Marijuana, bong or whatever the street name of Cannabis is today. I have smoked Swisher Sweets but they were stuffed with the horrible tobacco they came not loaded with cannabis.
I was exposed to a lot of things growing up and I know first hand what Ron White means when he says, “You can’t fix stupid, stupid is forever”. The poor white trash that I grew up with were a collection of Oakies and Arkies. To make matters worse, they married each other and I think the whole damn place was related to each other. To have escaped that neighborhood without impregnating someone whose brother’s name is Bubba, is no small feat. I also grew up somewhat sheltered from a lot of the normal experiences those in a big city stumbled upon each day. There wasn’t a black, a Jew or a homosexual that would have lived there. I did learn a lot of creative expressions for them but my experiences were very limited.
I was drafted in to the Army in 1966 because I learned to play 10-point pitch in the basement of the Campus Activity Center at Wichita State University. I mean I seriously started out only as a casual player until I met Chuck, my card-playing buddy. We very soon learned to cheat and our system of signs went undetected until we were so good that it was a hell of a lot more fun to win than go to class. Hell, it was more fun to loose than go to class but winning was a lot more fun than loosing. Well, to make a long story short, hell I don’t get paid by the word so what do I care how many words get killed in this pieces of thesis. (or, substitute Feces here is you desire) I went through 8 weeks of Basic Training, 8 weeks of Advanced Individual Training (AIT) and 23 weeks of Officer Candidate School at the Fort Sill School of wayward boys or Cannon Cocker College of Cannon Knowledge.
I wound up in wonderful Southern California where you couldn’t raise hell with a dozen Indians and a case of whiskey. Fort Irwin was the armpit of the Mojave Desert (notice only one s here because you wouldn’t want a second helping of that hell hole) We were about 50 miles from Barstow and if you have been there it is in the middle of “no” and “damn where”. The unit I was assigned to was training to go to Vietnam and I was assigned to the battery as a Forward Observer and had an additional duty as the Supply Officer. That meant that in addition to making sure that everything that went out of the supply room was signed for, I had to figure out how to ship the whole damn mess to Vietnam. Going out was fairly easy. When everyone started turning stuff back in I needed more help that I had assigned. For the record it was me, a Staff Sergeant and a PFC trying to make sense out of the pile of “stuff” and trying to figure out where to stuff it so it would all fit in a half a dozen Connex containers.
One day I finally went over to the 1st Sergeant and asked for some help. He thought about it for a minute or so and smiled. I should have known that I was about to be the recipient of someone he didn’t want or someone who didn’t want to be a “Supply Specialist”. I met Private Johnson ( I really don’t remember his name and there are a hell of a lot more Johnson’s than any other name so what the hell) and put him to work. That kid was motivated to doing a good job. He was so motivated that he moved his bunk into the supply room and was there night and day for well over a month. To say he was a good worker was an understatement. I was thrilled and never looked that gift horse in the mouth. Like I said, that went on for over a month and one day he was standing there in his Class “A” uniform and leaning on his duffel bag. I noticed that he didn’t have an insignia or a name tag on the uniform and asked him what was up. He said that today was his discharge date from the Army and he was leaving. I knew that the bus stop to Barstow was clear on the other side of post so I offered him a ride. He gladly took the offer and I drove him to the bus stop and wished him well. We shook hands and off he went.
When I got back to the supply room the guys were giggling like a bunch of little kids. I made them tell me what was so damn funny. They said didn’t I notice something "queer" about the soldier? No, he was a clean-cut hard working guy to me. The Army had a policy of discharging Homosexuals in 1967 and he went home so branded. The final words I heard that day were “Hey LT. Did he kiss you good bye?”
Tomorrow I'll tell you about the risk assessment class I took and the ambush interview where I was asked about the Military's anti Homosexual Policy prior to last year.